July 5 (UPI) -- Superstars are in action from England to South Africa this weekend as international Thoroughbred racing hits its summertime stride.
With two-time Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Enable facing old rival Magical in England, Too Darn Hot looking for victory in France, which has been way too darn hot of late, and the Durban July heating up wintertime in South Africa, it's a tasty stew of many cultures.
Here's the recipe:
Enable, the dual Arc winner and Breeders' Cup Turf victress, makes her long-awaited return to the races in Saturday's Group 1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown and, lo and behold, faces Enable, the filly who chased her home last fall in Louisville, losing by just 3/4 length. Since that momentous race, Magical has reeled off three wins and a second for Coolmore and Aidan O'Brien, the second coming last time out in the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Enable, ably partnered by John Gosden and Frankie Dettori, has not raced since the Breeders' Cup triumph. She has, however, shown the ability to win big after a layoff. And she does carry a nine-race winning streak into the Sandown tilt.
The other six in the Coral-Eclipse are excellent horses but all are long shots in the shadow of the top two.
A dozen will face the starter for Sunday's Qatar Jean Prat for 3-year-olds going 1,400 meters at Deauville. The hot favorite for this is Too Darn Hot, with Dettori hopping the Channel to take the mount, again for Gosden, on the third-place finisher in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. After going undefeated in four starts as a juvenile, the Dubawi colt has yet to win this season, albeit facing the best available competition. Things potentially get a tad easier here although the opposition includes a Godolphin trio trained by Andre Fabre, Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby and
Sixteen are entered for Sunday's Deutches Derby at Hamburg, going 2,400 meters. The antepost favorites are Laccario, a Group 2 winner in only his second start last time out; Django Freeman, second in that race; and Quest the Moon, a Group 3 winner in France.
Saturday's Group 1 Durban July has the usual full field tackling 2,200 meters on the Greyville turf. This time around, the defending champ, Do It Again, will attempt to do it again as one of the favorites -- both with the oddsmakers and with trainer Justin Snaith. Snaith, however, bemoans the handicap conditions which find his champion spotting weight to the field.
"At level weights, he (Do It Again), always seems to win, Snaith said two days out from the race. "But we think he can win even under these terms. If it does, it will be a tremendous accomplishment."
Mike de Kock sends out Hawwaam for Sheik Hamdan and his concern for the well-fancied 3-year-old is a lack of seasoning and emotional maturity. "He's shown himself to be a quirky horse," de Kock said. "He's just a man. He wants to do it his way. The last time, nothing went his way and he still won ... "He's never been in a big scrum," de Kock said. "They've all been smaller fields."
The 18-horse field for the July -- an iconic social event in the coastal city along the Indian Ocean -- also features 7-year-old Greys Inn gelding Legal Eagle, who finished fifth as the favorite in 2015 and has not contested the race since.